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Indian Journal of Forensic and Community Medicine


Cause of Death (Including Open, Exposed Injuries) and Clothing Status of Corpse vis-a-vis Decomposition of Human Bodies


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Author Details: Sarthak Juglan, Sandeep Singh, Rajiv Kumar Benzal, Jayanthi Yadav

Volume : 3

Issue : 2

Online ISSN : 2394-6776

Print ISSN : 2394-6768

Article First Page : 83

Article End Page : 86


Abstract

Introduction: Decomposition Changes in the corpse is the final stage of degradation of the body. These changes sets in after disappearance of rigor mortis where by complex organic structures are broken down into simpler variants by the action of anaerobic bacterial flora and autolytic digestive action of enzymes outpoured during cellular death. Concealment of crime by hiding the bodies is a common practice. Often these bodies are found in various stages of decomposition at the time of recovery. Injuries (including open wounds) over body surface attract insects and provide warm and suitable micro-environmental conditions for eggs laying, in addition to natural and cozy body orifices.
Aim: The objective of the present study is to correlate the cause of death (including open wounds) with respect to decomposition of human bodies, to study the distribution pattern of injuries over body and to find effect of clothing status on the overall decomposition process.
Material and Methods: The present study was carried out during 2009-2012 and involved 100 human corpses in various stages of decomposition. All necessary and vital information was assembled from police papers regarding location of body, crime scene, last seen alive etc. History narrated by relatives was correlated with the condition of the body and police history. Cases were classified according to their status of decomposition, clothing status of the corpse was identified as partial, complete and naked. Injuries present were recorded according to their size and location. 
Observations and Results: Out of the total 100  cases studied, 6 cases were in stage 1, 31 in stage 2, 34 in stage 3, 25 in stage 4 and 4 cases were in stage 5. 55 cases were fully clothed, 28 cases partially clothed while 17 cases were naked. In 25% cases injuries were case of death. In 10% cases pathology and infection was cause of death. In 44% cases head (including face) & neck was the commonest site of injury. 60% cases of injuries were recorded in month of April to September. 82% of bodies found naked were recovered in advanced stages of decay.
Conclusion: The present study highlights that while injuries are a definitive additive parameter to the process of decomposition, other cause of death also influence rate of decomposition of human corpses. Injuries, particularly in combination with other suited conditions over various body parts ideally allow for the growth of various predators and work cumulatively in ultimate demolition of the body. Exposed corpses were found especially susceptible to alterations in any given conditions.

Keywords:
Decomposition, Injuries, Micro-environmental conditions